Please See Me For More Than The Tools

There’s something that’s been bothering me lately. It’s actually bothered me for a while, but I’ve just heard the same thing mentioned so many times recently that I have to blog about it.

We have a lot of student teachers at our school right now, and as others introduce me to  them, the introduction usually goes something like this: “This is Aviva. She’s really good with technology.” or “This is Aviva. You’ll want to go and see her if you want to find out more about technology.” 

I know that I’ve blogged about this topic before, but some days, I just wish that I could be seen as more than a “technology teacher.” I actually don’t teach technology. I teach curriculum, and I pride myself on knowing the expectations well. Everything we do in the classroom has a purpose, and everything aligns with expectations. Even as I plan some fun “play challenges” for students for the last day of school before the break (thanks to our vice principal, Kristi, for the idea), there are still curriculum connections. Shhh … I just don’t tell the students! 🙂

Here’s another secret for you: I don’t expect students to use technology either. Many do, or they use a combination of paper, manipulatives, and devices, and I’m fine with any of these options, as it’s student choice that I want. My thought is that directing students to use a computer is no different than me directing them to use paper: do they need to be told what tool to use, and if so, why? How is this helping their learning? Should I be making this activity more open-ended instead?

One day, I’d like to be more often viewed for more than the tools that I use: I’d like to be seen as just a great teacherHow do others feel about this? What could I do to start to bring about this change? And if I’m being too sensitive here, please tell me that too — all advice is welcome!


9 thoughts on “Please See Me For More Than The Tools

  1. Aviva, considering I have only seen you in the twitter world, I don’t see you as the tech person, I see you as the curriculum, fantastic teacher but that might be also because that is my perception. Unfortunately, we are judge on those perceptions, whether good or bad. It might come down to the first impressions that people had of you or as simple as you do a lot with tech. Personally, I always have seen tech as an extension to me, like a pencil or paper, it’s not a course or a way of life it’s a tool. I think you see this too (please correct me if I am wrong) however, many don’t, so when they look into your classroom they see all this cool gadgets and gizmos and think that is what you are teaching, whereas, you see it as a vehicle for curriculum.

    I hear you though. I am the resident “math and tech guy”. When people introduce me they say, go to Jon for math and tech ideas. I have learned to recently let it not bother me and when people come to try and educate them that it’s the curriculum first and subject second.

    I know that I may have not answered your problem but know that your not the only one to feel this. Look at the bright side, people recognize you for a piece of who you are. They are trying to tell others that you are amazing (yes it’s one part of who you are but amazing it still is).

    • Thanks Jonathan! It’s always nice to know that you’re not alone. I think that you captured things perfectly in your first paragraph. That’s exactly what I think, and I love that you feel this way too when it comes to the use of technology.

      Not that long ago, our superintendent, Sue Dunlop, commented on one of my other posts about “reframing the problem.” She showed how sometimes problems can be solved by just looking at them differently. As I read your comment, I think about this, and wonder if that’s how I could solve this problem too. Hmmmm …

      Thanks for getting me thinking!

  2. Pingback: This Week in Ontario Edublogs | doug --- off the record

  3. Wow Mrs.Dunsiger! You have an avid hand in this post!
    I feel for you… you have been ‘captioned’. Just like students are captioned with ‘nerd’ , ‘tomboy’ ‘girlie-girl’ etc. , teachers have been captioned to ‘technology’ ‘math’ ‘gym’ etc. As a kid, the best advice I could give you is to show the other teachers what else you can do. That award of yours was a great one. Possibly, the other teachers noticed that this was NOT a technology award ( 🙂 ) !
    One thing that I disagree with is that students don’t learn with technology. Because, in the modern world, some teachers find it the solution for a month long headache. Think about the thousands of programs t

    • Thanks for your comment! I think that the end of it was cut off and I hope that you’ll go back and add the rest. I’d love to hear your final thoughts.

      I guess that my point didn’t come across well enough here. I do think that students can learn with the use of technology (and do). As a teacher though, the curriculum guides my practice, and I always think about expectations when planning anything in the classroom. I like to see technology as a tool that can help ALL students succeed in all subject areas. And I think that they’ll probably learn a little bit more about technology (and the responsible use of technology) in the meantime.

      Thanks for keeping me thinking!
      Miss Dunsiger

  4. Sorry about that!! The comment posted before I was finished. Think about the thousands of programs that have been developed. I personally use tachnology all the time. Now in aday, I would encourage teachers to use muniplatives more that modern technology. It conserves and builds the brain in an independent way. And the way you said it rocked it! For your answers, I have them here: No. Do not tell the students what to use, everyday, everytime. I would encourage you to let them explore the classroom. If you tell them what to do, they will not know the trait of Self-Regulation. And for your last question, I think you have already started your mission with that award.
    Yusra I.,
    P.S. Sorry Once again that I have posted 2 comments, my first one cut off..

    • Thanks Yusra for continuing your comment here! I definitely agree with you about the importance of student choice and giving students a chance to think through problems on their own. It’s important for them to regulate their own behaviour, but also, to learn independent problem solving skills.

      I love hearing this student perspective! Please keep on sharing.
      Miss Dunsiger

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